Interview with AnaLiza Alba – Owner of fibi & clo
I love featuring women entrepreneurs on the site, but I get especially excited when it’s someone who is local and who went to the same college as I did. AnaLiza not only has a super cool business concept, but she also offers a really cool business opportunity for those of you who love the fashion industry! fibi & clo is the first direct sales company for shoes and their shoes are absolutely stunning!
Keeping reading to find out more…
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I was born in Corpus Christi and went to school at the University of Texas in Austin. My business is also based in Austin. But I live in NYC and go back and forth a lot. It truly started out as a fun hobby, and it was a great way to get me home to Texas more often so I could see the family I miss so much. But then as I got more and more positive feedback and encouragement from my customers, I decided to really pursue it as a serious business. We have 12 reps (direct sales consultants) now and we’re recruiting more for next year. Once I had my first couple of reps and saw them really succeeding and having fun, I knew it was something to pursue because it was worth it for all of us.
What did you do before launching your own business?
I was working as a creative director/copywriter in advertising. I’m still in the ad business, and I love it. Being surrounded by people in the industry keeps me inspired every day.
How did you fund your business?
The growth of our business has been funded entirely by cash flow. We have no debt and no outside investors. My fiancée and I invested the initial seed money, and thanks to his extensive contacts in the fashion world, we were introduced to a lot of people who helped us out and gave us a lot of useful advice at the beginning. Otherwise, this would have been a very cost prohibitive business to enter. The barriers are very high.
However, it is for this very reason that we make the barriers of entry for our fashion agents very, very low. We do not charge any fees to start with fibi & clo and we offer extensive training and help. We want our fashion agents (direct sales consultants) to make at least $10,000 in their first year. That being said, we only hire people who approach this opportunity seriously.
The success for us and for our fashion agents has been incredible. Nobody turns down the opportunity to host a shoe party.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent in your home office?
I never stop working! While the business is based in Austin, I still have my full-time job in New York so time-management is key. My fiancée runs the day-to-day business and we go back to Austin a couple times a month. The majority of the design work is done in New York City. The creativity and inspiration in New York is hard to beat and really helps me with design ideas.
Our fashion agents (direct sales consultants), on the other hand, work from their home and have had a very successful time. They make a lot of extra income while at the same time keeping their families and other job commitments as top priorities. Some fashion agents work 20 hrs a week while others 3-5 hrs.
How would you rate your success?
Every start-up encounters bumps along the road. Fortunately for us, our bumps have all derived from growing the business. Our fashion agents are having a very successful and fun time with this concept. We’ve been profitable since day one, so I’m grateful the hard work is paying off for all of us.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an entrepreneur?
Dealing with the growth and managing my personal time. I truly believe in the saying, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” But there are definitely moments when I have to stop thinking about work and just learn to relax. We want this business and concept to allow everyone associated with it the chance to enjoy their life and make some extra money at the same time.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
Be sure to have a solid foundation (support system) in place when starting your business. My family has been incredible and I couldn’t have done this without their support and help.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
Ask me that in a couple years… still figuring that part out.
Connect with AnaLiza Alba and fibi & clo
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